Day 198: The Elf on the Shelf

Until recently, I have learned and understood all of the practices and customs that come with the festive season of Christmas, however, a new custom has become common practice among tribes in this culture, one that I am still educating myself about daily.  This new practice involves the adoption, or rather, the purchase of a small elfin figure and placing said elfin figure high upon a ledge or shelf within the tribal abode.  You see, the purpose of this small holiday sentinel is to ensure the agreeable behavior of the natives through the duration of the festive season. Originally, I scoffed at the concept of adopting such a token, however, after learning the legend that accompanies its adoption into a tribe, I have reconsidered my first impression.

The elfin figure itself is no more than a mere six inches tall when seated upon a ledge or shelf, its legs dangle below a few more inches.  His clothing resembles that of the strange old man in the red suit, a costume synonymous with this holiday season.  The figure says not a word and in fact does very little to enforce his mission – to report all of the deeds of the natives, good and bad, to the strange old man in the red suit, who apparently notes their activity in some archive somewhere.  Methinks that it is merely the threat of being reported on that keeps the natives of good behavior and agreeable.

Each day as natives retire for their daily slumbers, the elfin figure, by magic, of course, becomes animated and transports itself to the northern most point of the world, supposedly where the man in the red suit resides, there to report on the behavior of the natives that it observes.  It then, by magic again, returns to the tribal abode before the natives awake, in a different vantage point than the previous day.  The natives are instructed to find said elf but are not allowed to touch the figure, for if they do, the elfin figure will lose its magic, and thus be unable to report on the days events.

Tuesday and Wednesday appear unphased by the elfin figure’s presence and in fact hold the holiday sentinel in little favor.  Upon his adoption into the tribe, Tuesday had very little expression; Wednesday on the other hand desired to teeth on his nose.  Perhaps, the natives are of too young an age to aptly understand the significance of the elf in the tribal abode.  Perhaps, as the natives grow more familiar with the custom, they will endear themselves to him.

I have heard tales of natives providing provisions for the elf on the shelf, including a place to rest and sustenance to consume.  I have heard tales of unruly and disagreeable barbarian natives suddenly turned into civilized members of their tribe – all due to the presence of this magical little elfin figure.  Perhaps, I was hasty in my judgement of his adoption/purchase into the tribe; however, his effect on the tribe still remains to be seen.

For now, I will continue to observe the custom of this ‘elf on the shelf’ and partake in the facilitation of the custom.  Methinks that his effect on the tribe will be minute at best this holiday season, but will perhaps be more influential next year.


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